Wednesday, December 12, 2007

UK Population Trends   posted by DavidB @ 12/12/2007 04:52:00 AM

The Office for National Statistics in the UK has released a report on fertility rates and population trends, including a breakdown by ethnic groups. Here is a report in the Times.

I had some trouble finding the relevant material on the ONS website, so to save our readers the trouble, here is the main report (1Mb pdf file) and here is the ONS Press Release (short pdf file).

I haven't read the full report myself yet, but at first glance there isn't anything very unexpected. The upturn in fertility rates for British-born women doesn't surprise me, as I have been harping for some time on this theme. The continuing high fertility of Pakistan and Bangladesh-born women (compared both to indigenous Britons and immigrant groups from elsewhere) will naturally attract attention. The ONS says there is evidence that the differential is narrowing, but I doubt that it will be closed any time soon.

Added on 17 December
It was careless of me not to think of one very major factor relevant to fertility rates, namely the proportion of women who work. I don't have the latest figures, but in 2002 the proportions of women from different ethnic groups who were not in the labour market (i.e. not working or seeking work) were roughly as follows (ONS data from the Labour Force Survey):

White 24%
Black Caribbean 22%
Black African 30%
Indian 31%
Pakistani 65%
Bangladeshi 78%
Chinese 28%

What stands out here is the huge proportion of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who are not in the labour market - more than twice as many as in any other group. I am sure there is a cultural/religious factor involved here: women who work are likely to mix with people from other religions, and even (horror of horrors) with men who are not their relatives or husbands. Much better just to stay at home and have babies.